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Summer Careers Academy


What: The Summer Careers Academy is a new Registered Youth Apprenticeship designed as an eight week career training program that takes place in the summer and connects local learners (ages 16-24) with new skills, paid work experiences, and compelling career pathways to in-demand fields. Read the Oct 2021 announcement.

When & Where: The Summer Careers Academy is launching in Orange County, NC in the Summer of 2022 with a focus on the skilled trades and will expand to other industries (i.e., health care and IT) and other counties in subsequent years.

Who: The Summer Careers Academy is designed by a diverse coalition that includes representatives from educational institutions, employer groups, and governmental agencies as well as community volunteers and experts. The program is designed for Chapel Hill-Carrboro/Orange County youth (ages 16-24) with a special focus on youth from refugee and migrant families as well as low income students and students of color.

Steering Committee: A Steering Committee guides the development of the program and is dedicated to building a skilled talent pipeline for the future. The Steering Committee includes representatives from Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Orange County Schools, Durham Technical Community College, the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties, The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, the Chapel Hill Town Council, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education, as well as experts James (Jim) Porto, Ph.D., and Berman (Keith) Sipe.

Research and Design: The design of the Summer Careers Academy model was informed with findings from the Skilled Construction Trades Study (read the press release), which was commissioned by the Orange County Board of Commissioners and funded by the Orange County Government in 2019, and conducted by The Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro in 2020. The study surfaced four promising training program models, including the Catawba Valley Construction Career Academy, which is an employer-led, low-cost, high-performance model that became the blueprint for the new Summer Careers Academy.

Funders: Public and private funding for the inaugural Summer Careers Academy was provided by the NC Education and Innovation Workforce Commission and Kenan Charitable Trust.

Acknowledgements: The Steering Committee acknowledges several individuals and organizations that were involved in the development of the Summer Careers Academy, including but not limited to representatives from ApprenticeshipNC (part of the NC Community College System), Durham Public Schools and the WayMakers CollaborativeHope RenovationsOrange County Board of Commissioners, and Orange County Schools Board of Education.

History: The coalition was ignited in March of 2021 by Chapel Hill Town Council Member Tai Huynh. The original intent was to re-establish an apprenticeship program in the skilled trades with the Town of Chapel Hill and in doing so, better reach children of refugees and other underserved populations with new training opportunities for careers that provide a living wage. The working group expanded the vision to engage more employers and industries and developed the summer careers academy concept. By Summer 2021, the coalition secured public and private funds to bring to life the vision for a new pre-apprenticeship program in the skilled trades, called the Summer Careers Academy, launching in the Summer 2022 and beyond. Read the NC Chamber article featuring the Summer Careers Academy.

Contact: For questions about the Summer Careers Academy, contact Chamber Vice President of External Affairs, Katie Loovis. For questions about the inaugural program focused on the skilled trades (Building our Future), contact the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties Summer Careers Academy Program Coordinators: Heather Kasey and Patricia Harris.